Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Spatial distributions of the red palm mite, Raoiella indica (Acari: Tenuipalpidae) on coconut and their implications for development of efficient sampling plans.

Abstract

The red palm mite (Raoiella indica), an invasive pest of coconut, entered the Western hemisphere in 2004, then rapidly spread through the Caribbean and into Florida, USA. Developing effective sampling methods may aid in the timely detection of the pest in a new area. Studies were conducted to provide and compare intra tree spatial distribution of red palm mite populations on coconut in two different geographical areas, Trinidad and Puerto Rico, recently invaded by the mite. The middle stratum of a palm hosted significantly more mites than fronds from the upper or lower canopy and fronds from the lower stratum, on average, had significantly fewer mites than the two other strata. The mite populations did not vary within a frond. Mite densities on the top section of the pinna had significantly lower mite densities than the two other sections, which were not significantly different from each other. In order to improve future sampling plans for the red palm mite, the data was used to estimate the variance components associated with the various levels of the hierarchical sampling design. Additionally, presence-absence data were used to investigate the probability of no mites being present in a pinna section randomly chosen from a frond inhabited by mites at a certain density. Our results show that the most precise density estimate at the plantation level is to sample one pinna section per tree from as many trees as possible.